Return to the Friends of Santa Teresa Park
- Attendees: Mike Boulland, Ronald Horii, Kitty Monahan, Paul
Vincze, Jenel Vincze, Mario Blaum, Holly Davis, Sam Drake, Ed Jackson,
Woody Collins, Ash Kalra, Don Rocha, Duane Overby
- Ash Kalra, from the San Jose Planning Commission talked
about the Coyote Valley Environmental Impact Report (see the Coyote Valley Website,
Valley Specific Plan, and the Environmental
- The Draft EIR on the Coyote Valley is open for public
comment until the end of June, comments will be addressed, then the
amended EIR will be voted on by the City Council.
- The EIR is required by CEQA. It addresses issues such as
land use, transportation, noise, air quality, cultural resources,
biological resources, water quality, hazards, energy,
population, jobs, housing, etc.
- It identifies impacts, whether they are significant,
whether the impacts can be reduced, and if not, why not.
- The Coyote Valley is divided into 3 parts: north, middle,
and south. The north and middle parts will be developed. The south part
will be a non-urban buffer zone. Palm Ave. forms the north-south
- The value of the land will go down in the south part if
it can't be developed. The Open Space Authority is looking for
agricultural easements there. It will stay under private ownership, but
won't be rezoned for high-density development.
- The specific plan calls for at least 50,000 new jobs (not
including jobs like support and retail) and at least 25,000 new homes.
There are trigger mechanisms to maintain the jobs-housing balance. The
plan calls for the creation of at least 5,000 jobs before resisdential
development can start. Also, there must be a projected 5-year projected
budget surplus. 20% of the housing units must be deed-restricted below
- San Jose currently has a low jobs-housing balance
compared to other nearby cities. Housing requires more services.
Services may come from South San Jose.
- The EIR identifies 180 potential environmental impacts.
Half are significant. Of those, 25 are unavoidable, while the rest can
be avoided or mitigated. To mitigate for lost farmland, they may have
to buy land in the Central Valley, as there is not much left in the Bay
Area. It has to be prime farmland, not hillside.
- Mike asked about historic impacts. Did the plan talk
about the Battle of Santa Teresa? There is a DVD that was put out by
school kids on the history of the Coyote Valley.
- There will be a 4-lane expressway over the hill along
Bailey Avenue to connect to McKean Road. it could lead to development
in the South Almaden Valley.
- By state law, the EIR can't take into account the impact
on schools. The specific plan calls for 3 middle schools, and 2 high
schools. They will be in the Morgan Hill USD.
- The plan does not call for trail connections to Santa
- Because of the triggers, if nothing changes, Ash thinks
the earliest development can start in the Coyote Valley is in a decade.
- There is a residential project being planned for the
Edenvale Industrial Park. That area will be a test for the Coyote
- On Sunday, May 6, the Audubon Society of Santa Clara
- Don Rocha, Natural Resource Program Supervisor for the
County Parks, talked about plans for cattle grazing in Santa Teresa
- Cattle used to graze the hills that are now in Santa
Teresa Park. The cattle and infrastructure were removed after the land
became the park. Now, the parks department is looking into returning
cattle to the park.
- 95% of the park is considered critical habitat for the bay
checkerspot butterfly, which is listed as a threatened species by
the federal government. The butterfly lays its eggs on native plants
that are crowded out by non-native annual grasses. Cattle eat these
grasses. In areas where cattle grazing has stopped, butterfly
populations have declined. Cattle
grazing on Coyote Ridge has allowed the butterfly to survive by the
removal of these non-native grasses.
- Other methods have been tried to reduce the non-native
grasses, but cattle grazing works the best. Burning has been tried, but
it doesn't work as well. It hurts other plants. Goats are browsers, not
grazers. Sheep attract mountain lions, while cattle protect themselves.
- The US Fish & Wildlife Service has been putting
pressure on the County Parks to manage its rare and threatened species.
- The Rocky Ridge area in Santa Teresa Park is the most
- Butterflies also need cool areas with varied
- To best reduce the annual grasses, the cattle need to
graze from late winter to early spring. They will be pulled out before
the wildflowers emerge.One concern is how to avoid the cattle damaging
the trails during the wet winter months when the trails are muddy. They
are looking to see if late fall grazing will work.
- The other concern is the lack of water in the park.
They may have to dig wells.
- They are considering having cattle grazing on Bernal Hill
and Rocky Ridge. They will have a buffer to keep the cattle away from
the neighborhoods. Also, the soils on the lower hills is unstable and
could be damaged by cattle. On Bernal Hill, they will be above the
Norred Trail and below the Bernal Hill Loop Trail. They will put up
fences to contain the cattle. They would be 5-strand barbed wire with
self-closing gates. (Old barbed wire fences can be removed if they are
a detriment to wildlife. Inmate labor can be used to pull them out.)
- Cattle grazing is allowed on 3 other county parks.
- They are just looking for money to do the planning for
grazing. There are no plans now. The earliest funding could be obtained
would be in July. There would be workshops and meetings to discuss the
plans. Once the plan is complete, federal funding would be sought to
pay for it. Most likely, it would take 3-4 years to implement the plan.
- No additional trail closures would be necessary. Allowing
grazing could be used as mitigation for new trails through serpentine
areas, such as re-routing the Rocky Ridge Trail through Big Oak Valley.
- Don also talked about the pigs in the park. He said it
needs a regional approach. If the parks eliminated pigs in the park,
they would just come back from adjacent areas if the pigs aren't
controlled there also. 1 pig was trapped at the Mounted Ranger Unit and
sent to a rendering plant. USDA regulations prevent the meat from being
- Don also talked about concerns over the Coyote Valley
plans. The County is doing its own analysis in response to the Coyote
Valley Specific Plan.
- Once concern is the effect of street lights on raptors in
the trees along Coyote Creek.
- Another concern is wildlife migration. Animals will be
blocked from moving between the hills and the creeks. They could start
running onto roads.
- The Bonetti/Pedro Bernal house needs to be renovated. It is
not safe for occupancy.
- Our dues ($200) to the United
Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County are due by 6/30. UNSCC provides
a number of services, the
most important to us being liability insurance. There were questions
about what the insurance covers. Taking a class and volunteer hours are
- We have $213.44 in our account.
- Ron didn't have time to show his slideshow. He does have pictures on our
Yahoo Groups site, which can be viewed as slideshows, but you need
to be a group member to see them. (Access is free, but you need to have
ID, which is also free.) There are pictures on the Albertson
Parkway, the Volunteer Recognition Dinner, the wildflowers on Bernal
Hill, the Norred Trail and our trail walk on it, and the wildflower
walk after Ron's outdoor photography class. Ron has the Powerpoint
presentation for his photography class (21MB) on his website.
- Volunteers for Outdoor
California has a trail
construction project at Coyote Lake on Saturday and Sunday 5/5
- Volunteer Hours for March/April:
- Ronald Horii: 28/88 hours
- Mike Boulland: 15/15 hours
- Holly Davis: 6/6 hours
- Kitty Monahan: 3/3 hours
- Paul Vincze: 15/15 hours
- Jenel Vincze: 7/7 hours
- Mario Blaum: 12/12 hours
- Sam Drake: 3/3 hours
- Ed Jackson: 6/6 hours